The Power Of Story—Part 1

Note: This is not a horror writing blog. However, if you are interested in horror writing please see Nightlight: The Black Horror Podcast. On the show with Tananarive Due (9/19/20) there is a mention of a on-line horror writing class: The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival & Black Horror. This class is taught by Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes.

Story. Noun

  1. an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.
  2. an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something.

Most writing is based around this simple idea, tell the reader something they haven’t known, would like to know, or would like to entertain them. Sometimes, the things that scare us–are some of the oldest stories we ever learn.

With this autumnal mood apparent, the one thing, I will remind you of when you begin writing is the myths are powerful things, ancient things even! This is none more apparent that in the genre of horror or speculative fiction. It is the myth which gives basis and foundation for what it is you want to create. One of the things about horror writing which is both tricky and amazing is being about to master what scares you, what scares other people and how do you make that make sense. The way you do this is myth!

What people are normally afraid of is most often based in or around a story. A myth is a story! You need an idea on which to base the thing which will scare other people–with a myth being a story, it is easily relayed, repeated and built upon if necessary.

Just think about it!

Most of the troupes we find in literature are based in or off of myths. Using horror as our hook of sorts we see this clearly. From the myth of vampires, have troupes of blood drinking, needing coffins, and incineration from sunlight (remember, a troupe is a formula!). Do not dismiss the power of a myth, and what it will add to your story or WIP. You want to give your story all you have, whether it be the first or last draft.

Keep going.

Encouragement Pages-10/05/2020, As You Go Along-Part 1

Writing requires a completely different set of knowledge. Writers have the strangest walking around information! Yet, you need this type of knowledge. When writing fiction, you will need to be able to draw from this fountain of information formed and gathered through your own life travels and experiences. The strangest thing about being a writer is how you will incorporate all of those experiences–real or read–as they may manifest into flaw for your protag, a strategy for your villain, or a skill for your underdog!

Get to it! You can do it!

Happy Writing!

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-10/2/2020

I want you to understand that you are in charge of your imagination. You tell it what to do, where you want to go, and what you need the story to say!

You are the writer. You control this world, because you created it.

Create in confidence and write in power.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

The Flow: Making Your Own Oceans

This month, my goal is to remind you of the magic you have a writer to not only wield your talent, but to exercise it in a focused space. I want you to have to the confidence to go forth and explore your talent. I want you to remember not to fear your imagination, neither should you fear the sweeping of the urge, unction, the surge to write. I want you to be at peace with commanding your talent in a dedicated space and as well as yielding to that same power to create.

I want you to remember why you write. The why is just as important as the want. The want will fuel the why. One cannot exist without the other. The sooner you come to peace with this, the sooner (the quicker) you will be able to access this creative energy. The Flow is not this nebulous thing, and I hope that I have explained as best I can what it is, and what it is not.

After this month, I want you to know that as a writer–you are magic! You are more than capable to create, destroy and rebuild as you see fit. Stop selling yourself short! Stop believing that your talent is accident and incidental. You are a well on your way to a life you desire to write. If I leave you with one more permission, it is (will always be) write where you need to be. No one else can. All power and time is up to you.

Encouragement Pages-09/28/2020

The seasons are changing on this side of the world. With the seasons changing, with us going towards the end of the year, you must remember that time is fleeting. Time is fleeting, dear Oracle! Do not make the mistake of believing that lie that time is on your side!

Writing is two-fold: your manipulate time, and you chase time. To chase time means you are not mastering it. Writers master time through scheduling.

We chase time by planning (this is plotting, adhering to schedules and deadlines). The clock and calendar are yours to command. So do so in boldness and with ink!

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Own Your ‘And’

Tonight I will be doing Part 2 of an Instagram event with Keturah Kendrick called Black. Woman. Walking Through the World. Click here to follow me on Instagram. I promise it will help.

What is the definition of the 3-letter word ‘and’? There are 15 definitions to what this little word means. The best way to remember the power this word has is the word conjunction. A conjunction is a word that allows a sentence to be richer, more complex. Think of conjunctions (such as and, but and or) as the hitch to a tow truck –allowing you to bring all of your imagination to the page. With this in mind, I want you, the writer, to begin to do something radical:  own your ‘and’.

What does this mean, you ask?

This is a reminder to you as a writer to bring all your experiences to the any work, idea or project that you have. For me? My and’s are as follows:

I am Black, woman and writer.

I am woman and mother.

I am a believer in God and am pro-life in the complete sense.

These are just a few, of course, but these are just some of the identities and experiences I bring to anything space, platform and project I am involved with.

There will be no idea you will write or conceive which will not expect or demand you be confident in all that you are. In owning your ‘and’ you are owning your identity. You are defining how you move in the world, undetermined or undermined by the opinions of other people. This kind of radical honesty is imperative to a writer! Ownership and mastery of the self is  tool of a writer, and needed no matter the genre you desire to write!

The work you create will always bring a small sense of uncertainty. This feeling of tightrope walking, holding a stack of dishes on your head! The only way to conquer that feeling is to realize not to look down, and you succeed one step at a time…and the further you go on this tightrope, the more dishes you get to throw off you head. Knowing who are as an individual, accepting who are as an individual, gives your space as a writer! This space is invaluable because it grants you a power to be honest, open and vulnerable. This, this willingness to be honest brings a beauty and empathy to you work.

This is the power of storytelling! When a writer can ‘own their and’ and create because of or in spite of, they give a piece of themselves to their readers whom will become their audience.

Shy from nothing. Embrace everything. Own your ‘and.’

Encouragement Pages-09/23/2020

With Back to Writing Month closing, I want you to do one thing: I want you to remember why you want to write, but I want you to remember what you want to write. Writing is more than talent, more than skill–it is the desire to put both things together to create something you have seen in your mind’s eye.

Create because you can.

Create because you must!

Write because it is what you love to do. Write. Write. And keep writing.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

The Flow: Drops In The Ocean

The hardest thing for writers to do is to keep going. The reason it is hard is because to write is to put your imagination on paper is a form of intimacy not many people prepare for–or can accept! The one thing that is important to remember that you control just how much the world sees of your imagination. Bear this in mind, dear Oracle. You control just how much you give and show the world. Your talent in all its power is an ocean–before you unleash it all, try a few drops first!

Give the world a stream before you give them a tidal wave.

What does this mean, you ask? It means being confident in your talent, and write what you are comfortable with before wading out into deeper or more complex things. All the while, remember that you have the ability to write what you want. However, remember the wisdom of Ernest “Papa” Hemingway: “All first drafts are sh– (this is a direct quote).” Sometimes, the ‘drops’ are the beginnings of the draft you want to write. The drops are the beginning—remember this! With keeping in mind that your talent is an ocean (especially the more you write). It is the access to this creative energy (the Flow), your confidence will build.

Your writing will improve and your imagination will stretch in ways you haven’t seen yet! Embrace the drops, they will feed the ocean of your talent with time. All writer have–and need–is time.